Steyr GB - Tokyo Marui
The Tokyo Marui range of NBBs (with the exception of their H&K Mk23 SOCOM) are widely ignored, even ridiculed by those 'in the know'.
They are often dismissed as weak, badly made and unreliable, something their cheap price would tend to suggest may be true.
However, when a Steyr GB came up for sale on a forum, I thought I would get one and see how they stack up against the springers and GBBs they fall between in terms of price.
The Steyr GB was never a popular gun in real steel form, although it has developed a loyal following and is renowned for reliability, accuracy and for its huge 18 9mm round capacity, which was unheard of in the early 1980s, when the gun was introduced.
In the Box
No complaints here. The box is really rather stylish with rather moody photographic artwork showing the GB.
Inside, the contents are pretty much as a TM springer, with the gun, lots of paperwork and a small bag of .2g BBs.
The Steyr GB actually looked rather good at first sight.
The unusual frame finish is replicated and the gun feels remarkably good in the hand, the weight being much closer to a light GBB than a springer. I supect, however, that there are some fairly hefty weights in the grip, but overall the feel is remarkably good.
The safety on the slide is fixed, as is the slide lock, but the hammer is metal and moves and the slide can actually be racked to cock the gun, something I was under the impression it could not do.
The most disappointing thing at first sight is the spindly stick magazine, which looks fragile and only holds 15 rounds in a single stack.
Metal parts are not abundant, with the trigger, hammer and the front of the slide being metal and the the rest is all plastic.
The Steyr GB from TM costs about £40 in the UK, or $50 from Hong Kong retailers, so you can't really expect quality up to the standard of guns costing 2-3 times more and that is true.
The Steyr is very much akin to TM's rather good springers and, although there are noticable seam marks, the overall finish is quality, even if lighter than a GBB.
One odd feature, and one I cannot think of a sound reason for, is the very front part of the slide being made of metal. This produces a separation at the front of the slide, which is odd and off-putting, breaking the line of the slide completely. EDIT 2006 - However, this replicates the original gun, as I found when I spotted a deactivated Steyr GB at a recent militaria fair, so full marks to TM, after all.
Whilst looking at the slide, it is worth mention again that the slide can be racked to cock the gun, which is a nice touch, although the chamber is moulded in, so you cannot see BBs in the chamber or the back of the barrel.
Markings on the Steyr GB look reasonably good. On the left side of the slide there is "Mod GB"/"Secaucus" followed by a quite large Steyr Logo and then "9mm Para"/"N.J."
On the right hand of the slide is the, clearly incorrect, "MADE IN JAPAN"/"PO3456" followed by a smaller ZS V11182 - these latter two are repeated on the frame below and there is a small ASGK mark on trigger guard. Both grips feature the Steyr logo.
The slide lock is totally non-functioning and is actually just plastic piece held into the frame front and back by small pins. On the other side, the lever can be swung down to act as a crude trigger safety. Like springer safeties, though, it feels as though trigger pressure would break it or the trigger mechanism rather than acting as a true bar on operation.
The trigger is metal and features vertical grooves on its front face. The hammer is also metal being a skeletonised affair with ridges for a secure purchase with the thumb.
The magazine catch is a traditional button up on the left rear of the trigger guard. It releases the magazine and at this point you realise that the gun has the much derided 'stick magazine'. The base is full size, but the rest of the magazine is just big enough to hold a single stack of BBs (Around 12). That full size base has the neat effect, though, of covering the fill valve, which is at the back of the grip base, with the reservoir held inside the gun.
The sights are simple and unmarked. Nothing special to look at.
The gun itself is quite large, at least as big as a Beretta M92, but it's comfortable to handle and, for the price, feels solid and well made.
Carrying out my standard 5m/6 round, off hand test, the Steyr GB produced some very good results, in fact the best I have achieved with a NBB.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
The best 5 grouping was just 25mm (1 inch), excellent performance for any airsoft handgun.
The only downside is that 10m is about the limit at which shots hit to aim point. After that, the lack of hop-up (and power) start to tell and you need to arc shots to hit at longer range.
Over 10 shots, the Steyr GB averaged 192 fps (using duster gas) indoors (at 23C). I had heard some very disappointing figures for the TM NBBs, but, although lagging behind most GBBs, this is not terrible and certainly justifies their reputation as semi-automatic springers.
The DA only trigger pull was 1,230g (43 Oz), which is a medium weight pull for a NBB pistol.
Unlike a few NBBs, the Steyr GB cannot be field stripped.
Update - April 2006 It appears you can disassemble the Steyr GB. That metal muzzle twists to remove, which then allows you to remove the spring and guide. With those out, you can slide the slide Back and up to remove the slide from the frame.
Thanks to Wege and Amateurstuntman for the information.
Overall, I felt the TM NBB Steyr GB was a lot better than its reputation had suggested.
Certainly, the power is not amazing and the lack of hop-up limits its range, but few people are likely to really need to use a sidearm on a skirmish at great distances.
If you are on a tight budget, just want a cheap NBB for those cold winter skirmishes or just fancy an airsoft Steyr GB, then, at the price they sell for (around £40) you are, I suspect, not likely to be greatly disappointed.
If on the other hand, you want a year round skirmish sidearm, save another £30-£40 and get a KWA Glock 19.
Weight : 540g (45g Magazine)
Realism : ***
Quality : ***
Power : **
Accuracy : ****
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